Someone said that shopping is the Singapore national sport. Are there any surprises judging by the unimaginable range of products available in the shopping malls, departmental stores, boutiques, bargain stores and specialty booths and stalls in the malls and along the streets in residential estates? From designer items to everyghing-$2 products, one can literally shop-till-you-drop.
Avid shoppers would love the annual Great Singapore Sale, which usually falls between June to July. It has become a legendary annual event for both Singaporeans and visitors alike. Wide ranges of goods, including designer products, are marked down to present a mighty shopping extravaganza. The bargains are genuine and definitely value-for-money. Shoppers can also expect private events for exclusive items, such as works of art and jewelry. Antique rugs and carpets can also be bought at a cheaper price during the Great Singapore Sale. Click here for more info.
Where and What to Buy
Orchard Road is regarded as the hub of shopping. Most major departmental stores, up market boutiques for designer and collectors’ items make impressive presence on Orchard Road. The range of products in Orchard is staggering, but shoppers would often go to this shoppers’ paradise for apparel and accessories.
Mirroring those in Orchard, shopping malls of a smaller scale started springing up in the suburbs or the residential areas. Shoppers are often residents who live nearby, popping in for a convenient and likely a less expensive catch, or simply, to pass time.
As the name implies, Chinatown is where one would expect authentic and traditional Chinese products. From antiques and cultural artifacts to apparel and accessories, Chinatown is especially inviting during the Chinese New Year season when streets will be blocked out to make way for more stalls and massive crowds. A once red-light district turned succesful restoration project, Chinatown is indeed a colourful place with rich cultural heritage. Tradition in modern Singapore, houses and buildings from ancient past have been restored into their former glory and turned into shophouses as offices, quaint shops, boutique hotels and guest houses. Visitors eating exotic tropical fruits by the road side like the
rambutan, durian and mangosteens are not uncommon sights in Chinatown. The streets have much to offer to bargain hunters looking for Chongsam, jewellery, Singapore T-shirts, pottery and traditional crafts. This area is also known for its traditional crafts such as painted masks, paper umbrellas, clogs, kites and antiques. Electronic goods, luggage, textiles and other more conventional products can also be found here. Nearest MRT stations: Chinatown, Outram Park.
The centre of the Muslim community, Arab Street offers merchandise such as handicrafts, clothes, textiles, basket ware, jewelry, etc that have a distinctly Islamic, Malay, Indonesian and Arabic influence. It offers a dazzling spectrum of fabrics from chiffon, sarong, silk, cotton georgette to authentic batiks from Indonesia & Malaysia, often overflowing onto the pavements. Baskets and other cane, straw, rattan and pandan leaf handicrafts are aplenty, enticing visitors to purchase keepsakes or souvenirs at bargain prices. Shops selling songkok (Muslim men’s headgear), the Quran, prayer mats can be found here. For the ultimate shopperholics, shopping does not need to end here in Mustafa Centre – Singapore’s only 24-hour shopping mall. Nearest MRT station: Bugis.
The aroma of spices, the scent of burning incense, coupled with sights of rich and bright sari and textile on display - it is unmistakable that you have come to the largest community of Indians in Singapore. Little India is the Indian version of Chinatown where merchandise such as jewelry, gold, handicrafts, silk, utensils and spices are available to the Indian and South Asian community in Singapore. This colourful area of Singapore is rich in shops selling Indian handicrafts and goods, with numerous Indian restaurants and stalls to challenge the strongest taste buds. For fresh vegetables, fish, meat, spices and flowers, visit the Tekka Centre. For curry lovers, Serangoon Road is lined with ready-made packets of spices for fish, meat or vegetable curries. Nearest MRT stations: Little India, Farrer Park.
Funan Centre and Sim Lim Square on North Bridge Road are popular places for home appliances, gadgets and computers. For the hottest gadgets and the latest computer games, these IT malls will cater to the most sophisticated techies.
Located in Harbour Front, VivoCity will offer a vibrant and diverse mix of 300 retail, food and beverage and entertainment outlets, filling up over 1 million square feet of lettable floor space when it is completed in October 2006. Complemented by large, interesting recreational, entertainment and event spaces to provide a stimulating mix of activities, VivoCity will be Singapore’s largest multi-experiential retail and lifestyle destination.
Designed by renowned Japanese architect, Toyo Ito, VivoCity's unique design
incorporates breathtaking open spaces for waterfront alfresco dining and the
staging of world-class events and performances in a 1000-seat amphitheatre.
Goods and Services Tax (GST)
A 7% Goods and Services Tax (GST) is levied on most goods and services.
You must spend a minimum of $100 at a participating retail shop on a single day. You may accumulate up to 3 receipts on same day purchases from the same retailer to meet this $100 threshold.
The goods must be brought out of Singapore via Changi International Airport or Seletar Airport within 2 months from the date of purchase.
You must have a duly completed refund form issued by the participating retailer.
You must produce the refund form with the goods and receipt personally to Singapore Customs for verification and endorsement of the form.
You must show your passport and boarding pass or confirmed air-ticket to Singapore Customs.
For bulky goods or goods to be checked in ,please ensure thatt you proceed to the Singapore Customs GSTRefund counter before checking in the goods.
Smallitems that can be hand-carried are to be produced at Singapore Customs GST Refund counter in the Departure Lounge afterimmigration clearance.
You must depart with the goods on a flight within 12 hours from Singapore Customs' endorsement of your refund form.
You mustsubmit the refund form endorsed by Singapore Customs to the retailer or refund agency no later than 2 months from the date of the endorsement.